Category Archives: Creative

5 Apps for Productivity and Organization

You have a smartphone. You’re certainly familiar with Instagram, Facebook, maybe some Angry Birds? Do people still play that? But think about what apps you have as far as productivity goes. It’s still early in 2014 – organize and get yourself some sanity already! There are 5 apps that might be of assistance:

1. Things // To-Do



Easy to add items to be done, easy to tag them for easy searching later, easy to add repeating tasks, easy to add due dates, and easy to automatically sync all to-dos across all devices. Have you noticed a common theme? Things 2 is easy.

2. Busy // To-Do

Busy is more of a productivity motivator than others. Get into a routine of starting your day with your starred task (the one you’re most likely to do) so you don’t procrastinate. The inbox acts as a container to hold all tasks and you release them to your “Important,” “Doing,” and “Done” lists as you progress through tasks. The best part is, you can organize to-do items by project – Home tasks, Financial tasks, and other Projects you create yourself. No more visually chaotic lists of things to be done. Busy is, in a word, simplicity.

3. Evernote // Paperless Notebook

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Evernote has been around for a while, begging to be an app before apps were even a thing. It acts as almost a virtual scrapbook – pull images and text you find on the internet, make notes, put them into “notebooks” and easily search everything later. Save recipes, create grocery lists, plan trips, save receipts and bills, all while reducing paper clutter in your life. You can also upgrade to a subscription plan, opening up opportunities to allow others to edit your notebooks and for them to be taken offline.

4. Supper // Food and Playlists

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Does this fit in the category of Productivity? Making food while listening to some tunes? Yeah, sure. We all have to eat and most of us like music, so why not combine the two without having to do much? Supper is an awesome app that provides delicious-looking recipes and the playlists to go along with them. Get motivated to dice, chop and fry while to the beat of whatever music has been chosen, and then reward yourself (and your dinner party) with some jams to eat to. Try some new food, give some fresh music a shot, and it’s win-win. Kill two birds with one stone.

5. Paprika // Recipe Curator

groceries meals recipe

Gather recipes from all over the internet, collect them in one app and then go to town. Paprika formats the recipes, allows you to creative interactive grocery lists (combining ingredients from different recipes for a total amount needed), and keeps your screen on while you’re cooking. It also allows you to create a meal plan each week, start a timer when a time is recognized in a recipe, and automatically scale ingredients to your desired serving size.

A Guide to American Football

If you’re a living breathing American, you’re well-aware the Superbowl is on Sunday. Past that piece of information, there are two sides of the fence – those who are excited about the game, and those who are excited about the party to watch the game. If you’re part of the latter, this video is for you:

New Year’s Resolution: Be More Creative (Part 2)

The other day we went over how to execute your well-intentioned New Year’s resolution to be more creative. Lucky you, that wasn’t our entire bag of tricks! There’s more you can do:

Work With Your Hands


Learn a traditional printing method. Working with your hands is more useful if it stems from age-old traditions and the basis of modern design: screen printing and letterpress. There are studios throughout the Northeast, and whether you look into Union Press or Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville or The Arm in Brooklyn, learning the art of screen printing or letterpress can be worth the time, creatively and socially.

mattias-adolfsson-sketch-book-1(image: Mattias Adolfsson)

Get a sketchbook. Don’t spend too much on one or you’ll end up not letting yourself use it casually, for unfinished work. If you aren’t motivated on your own, do something like The Sketchbook Project, where your sketchbook becomes one of hundreds in an annual group exhibit.

Be Inspired By Others


Browse Behance. Important to note: don’t copy people. Use other people’s projects as a source of inspiration for techniques or color combinations, or to kick start an idea that’s been brewing but isn’t fully formed.


Use money as motivation. There are lots of ways to make a little moola on the side (and who couldn’t use some extra?). Minted is an online stationery, card, and gift marketplace that has a unique competition structure based on designer-submissions. Winners receiver 6% commission whenever their design is purchased on the site. Another option is Society6, a site that supports artists by allowing them to upload work to be sold on various products, the artists determining the portion of the sale they receive.

Create a Good Environment


Find what works for you. I’d love to say make sure you have an area without clutter so there’s space to work, but sometimes that’s what people need. Maybe try saving clippings that inspire you? But maybe that’s not your style either. Point is: figure out what kind of space you need in order to get stuff done. Leave an area in your living space entirely clear so there’s no obstacle when you want to sit down and work on a project, or dedicate that corner desk to be your creative spot and don’t pile up bills or papers there.


Get some noise. Most people need to tune out real life in some capacity in order to hunker down and make things. Make a playlist (or pick one based on your mood on Stereomood), or create the ambiance of the working in a coffee shop with Coffitivity. It’s pretty awesome, actually. They have various coffee shop environments to choose form, and if you’re the type who just needs a little white noise in the background, it’s perfect.

Hopefully you found some good ideas in here. We wish you the best of luck with all of your creative endeavors this year!

New Year’s Resolution: Be More Creative (Part 1)

It might seem a bit too broad, but “Be More Creative” is a New Year’s resolution that forms a solid foundation for having a good year. And before March rolls along and we’ve all forgotten our intentions for the beginning of the year, let us give you some suggestions.

Devote Time To It

Schedule it in. Like anything else, you need to put aside time for any and all activities related to your goal in order to assure it can be done and avoid the easy excuse of not having enough time. If you make time, you’ll have time.

drink_and_draw(image credit:

Make it a group thing.
Meet up with friends for a Drink and Draw night, have a monthly meeting where you share progress on projects, or give each other mini-assignments. Kill two birds with one stone – hang out with buds and keep yourself motivated creatively at the same time.


Use the idea of ‘Automated Directives.’ You know how they say smiling when you’re unhappy will actually change your mood for the better? Forcing yourself to create, in any capacity, every day will keep the juices flowing. Draw one thing every morning, write down three good things that happened that day before you go to bed. Kate Bingaman-Burt, an artist who drew everything she purchased for an entire year, has a great talk on the subject.

Do Something New



Take a class on Skillshare. Most are learn-at-your-own pace, project-based courses, taught by industry professionals who love what they do. They have a great range of topics to learn about, from hand lettering to building a web app, and put a great emphasis on students helping students. Major bonus: the classes are super affordable.

beehive_live_music(image credit: The Beehive)

Go to an event. Slam poetry at a bar down the street. Never been? Go. Live bluegrass on Monday nights? Do it. Watching other people do things they are passionate about is invigorating. You’ll leave the event with a creative buzz.


Get a Groupon. An inexpensive skydiving trip, a helicopter ride around the city, or even a deal on a hotel in the town you live in- all of these things can stimulate your brain, taking it out of it’s daily routine (and possibly giving you an adrenaline boost). Take advantage of the fact that Groupon sends you ideas every day for new activities you might not be drawn to, and push yourself to do them! Even a small change can spark new thought patterns and bring you some good ideas.

Plenty more where this came from. Stay tuned for more tips tomorrow!

To Resolve Project

New year! 2014 will be a fun one.

If you’re like most people, you have the best of intentions – deciding on a resolution before the year even starts, telling your friends, even going so far as to write it down on a piece of paper and swear to yourself that this year is the one, this year will be different, you’ll do it. And 6 months later you find that piece of paper in a drawer. Enter the To Resolve Project.

Created by artists and designers all over, these images serve as a daily reminder of your best-of-intentions start to the year, incorporating new year’s resolutions into attractive, simple phone backgrounds.

S_Hill_Resolution_finalKeep In Touch by Scott Hill

PrintRead More by Matt McCracken of Doublenaut

To20Resolve20iPhoneStep Away by Riley Cran

Corys_ToResolve_iPhoneMake Sh*t by Hand by Cory Roberts

To20Resolve_Hines_1Live Simply by Jason Hines

ScottHillMake Things With My Hands by Scott Hill

So, if you haven’t decided on a resolution yet (you’re 5 days behind already!), decide on one based on the background you like best, OR download the template and submit your own.
Happy New Year!


If you’re part of the working crowd, you know Starbucks. You might even say you need Starbucks, depending on the time of day. And besides the fact that we’re in a Dunkin’ Donuts town, we can all acknowledge that Starbucks … Continue reading

The Best Brands Using Vine // Lowe’s

When you’re thinking of  great commercials you’ve seen or clever marketing pieces, you might not come up with the name Lowe’s. This doesn’t say much for its marketing besides the fact that little of it sticks out to a consumer who isn’t already interested in Lowe’s (read: is not an adult male over the age of 40). So one might wonder how they would do with a younger-minded social media tool like Vine.  And the answer? BRILLIANTLY.

They’ve taken an opportunity to shove a product in someone’s face and turned it around to be a friendly tools-and-tips giver.

First, they tooled around for the 4th of July. Got some playing out of the way:

And then came the good stuff. Dig through the tweets with the hashtag #LowesFixinSix and you’ll find awesome tips, from how to unscrew a stripped screw, how to keep your paintbrush bristles from bending while drying, to suggestions that make decorating easier.

The best part? People are digging it. The tips are actually helpful and people want their friends to know – the perfect situation for huge success in a viral campaign. Can’t wait to see what Lowe’s comes up with next.

The Best Brands Using Vine // Target

Target is known for its style: simple, geometric, and most importantly, catchy. Their commercials don’t pitch their products at you. You’re just watching TV and somehow find yourself in the middle of a funky world where things are symmetrical and the music is great. From cake mix to beach gear to oatmeal, they’ve managed to maintain an organized playfulness throughout all of their marketing. Enter, Vine. Expectations were high, and Target didn’t disappoint.

They started with a bang, kicking off their 6-second video account with an origami stop-motion.

Right?! Pretty ambitious for a first-timer, but Target has a reputation and they know it.

Flash forward to this summer, and all the buzz surrounding their #SummerUp Decision Maker. Don’t know what you feel like doing? Tap and you’ll pause it on anything from “Build a Fort” to a photo of a jump rope.

Later on, they marked the beginning of football season with a clever Pickles vs. Pretzels toss of the pigskin (well, tortilla).

And as the days got shorter and we dragged ourselves inside for the winter, Target was there. With caramel apple tips, jack-o-lanterns a-plenty, and a nod to 1985’s Duck Hunt:

We were very interested to see what they’d come up with for the post-Thanksgiving weekend shopping frenzy, and were pleasantly surprised to find they’d revamped their summer Decision Maker. Make friends with your buddy in line on Black Friday! Well, it’s too late now but hang on to the link for next year.

The Best Brands Using Vine

With the release of Vine earlier this year, the whole landscape of posting something online changed. No longer were we chained to the constricting option of one particular moment in time, we could get it all. Or, almost all of it. 6 second videos had just enough time to capture the feeling of an event, or the hilarious mistake and the laughter afterwards.

But then a great thing happened: brands began to see it as an easy advertising opportunity. Skip the 30-second commercial, Vine is where the people are and Vine is free. They’ve really taken advantage of the opportunity to tell a quick story, very often pitching their product in a way that isn’t “pitchy” at all.

Dunkin’ Donuts. In an ironic twist, there was a lot of buzz surrounding Dunkin’ Donuts for their being the first to use the free app to create a commercial to air on television during Monday Night Football’s pregame show on ESPN. Vine is valuable tool for brands to create an overlap between television and social media campaigns, and Dunkin’ Donuts did a great job keeping people interested and engaged.

Samsung. With Samsung’s place as a hefty competitor in the tablet race, it’s no surprise they chose to spotlight their variety of mobile devices in one of their best Vines. A basketball player runs through three different phones or tablets before slam dunking on a fourth.

Another Vine brings ants to the scene of a picnic. A flat strawberry on  smartphone comes to life and the ants carry it away. Samsung definitely has fun with the app, so a viewer barely notices they’ve been slapped with advertising for the last 6 seconds. Because it’s barely a slap.

Oreo. We know Oreo is on top of their social media. And we’ve seen Oreos dunked in every possible way, so it’s fun to see how that cleverness translates to six seconds of stop-motion.

Etsy. The online crafty-creative community is the perfect company to experiment with stop-motion, and they did just that. Though none of them had experience with stop-motion beforehand, they went into each Vine prep with an open mind and a willingness to be flexible with the materials. A favorite:

Coming up, two pros of the Vine world: Lowe’s and Target.

Places That Work // Twitter

Twitter is all grown up. Last year it expanded from it’s humble start-up beginnings to a larger, 215,000 square foot space in San Francisco’s Mid Market district. Though one of busiest, most updated and constantly buzzing of the social media sites (the average life of a tweet is 2 minutes), their office is a blank canvas complete with small quirks that make it, well Twitter headquarters.

A little bit of a contrast from our last two spotlighted workplaces, the space is sophisticated and playful, while maintaining a sleekness to reflect their young company’s adulthood. With a visually uncluttered office, employees are free to spend time getting lost in their own Twitter-y brains. There’s lots of open space to collaborate, have meetings over lunch in the cafeteria (Called “@birdfeeder.” Clever.) or play corn hole on the roof deck.

twitter_headquarters_cafeteria twitter_office_roof_deck twitter_headquarters_workspace







Apparently Twitter’s big move to this previously gritty  area of San Francisco prompted several other companies to do the same, reviving the neighborhood into an area the city has renamed Central Market. With over 1,000 employees, it sounds like Twitter will soon have a fantastic office AND great neighbors.

Image credits: one, two, three